Firefly: Ariel

Simon: "For this to work, River and I will have to be dead."
Jayne: "I'm starting to like this plan."

Again, a strong episode that showed Simon in a wonderful light: clever, courageous, risking his life for his sister. It's like Simon is our conventional hero, while Mal is our anti-hero.

I'm not quite sure what Jayne is.

It's funny how Jayne can remain so likable even while doing such a despicable thing. I particularly liked how he absolutely had to give his rehearsed line even when it wasn't needed, and how he had the grace to look guilty when Simon was praising him to the skies. In fact, we got the key to Jayne in that final scene, when Jayne, facing death, asked Mal not to tell the others that he had betrayed them. Just as in "Jaynestown," Jayne wanted to be good. He would like to be a hero. He just isn't. But the desire counted for something. At least to Mal it did.

I didn't think for a moment that Mal would kill Jayne. Not because Mal doesn't have the nerve — I think Mal was more than ready to do it — but because Jayne is just too good a character to throw away. Jayne adds a lot of necessary conflict to their happy little space family. Oddly enough, this whole incident may have defused the anger between Simon and Jayne. Simon now thinks Jayne is, like, the best. And Jayne will probably continue to feel guilty for at least a few days.

The Blue Hand Group was back, with a nasty little killing device. Many scalpel scars in her brain, huh? Poor River. The fact that she can't control her fear or any other strong emotion explained a lot. Were the surgeries intended to remove her fear? In the final scene, River was drawing a picture of what looked like those nesting dolls where you take the top off and there's a smaller doll inside, and a still smaller doll inside that, and so on. It was evocative of River herself, because there's so much of River that is concealed.

Bits and pieces:

-- My favorite scenes were of Simon rehearsing the crew on how to act like paramedics. And Zoe knocking the nasty doctor out with defibrillators and saying wryly, "Clear."

-- Did River cut Jayne with the knife because she knew he was going to betray them? Did River's attack push Jayne into betraying them? This felt circular, didn't it?

-- Wouldn't it have been more logical if Mal had stayed with Simon and River while Zoe and Jayne pulled the heist? Unless Mal was testing Jayne. No, I think Mal would have contrived a less dangerous test if that was what he wanted to do.

-- Jayne was absolutely right that Mal had a double standard, that Mal wasn't as concerned because it was Jayne that got hurt instead of, say, Inara or Kaylee.

-- We learned here that companions, by law, have to get regular check-ups.

-- The scene where Simon stopped to save the dying man was like what Harrison Ford did in The Fugitive.

-- The diagnostic machine River was in was like a very, very open MRI.

-- It was fun to see them in a city for a change. Lots of sci-fi-like location scenes. This episode couldn't have been easy to make.

-- Shepherd Book was not in this episode.

-- This week's planet: Ariel, one of the "core planets." Ariel featured museums, restaurants, sensors, feds, moving billboards, pigeons, and bioluminescent lakes.

Quotes:

Wash: "Don't you just hate doctors?"
Simon: "Hey."

Simon: "River, you have to eat. It's good. It tastes like... (makes a face) It's good."
Jayne: "It smells like crotch."

Mal: "Could have been meditating on the wonders of your rock garden by now."
Jayne: "Well, it beats just sitting."
Wash: "It is just sitting."

Kaylee: "What's the companion policy on dating?"
Inara: "It's complicated."
(So they can date, huh?)

Mal: "Patients were cynical, and not responding..."

Mal: "Pupils were fixed and dilapidated..."

River: "They took Christmas away. I came downstairs for the shiny presents. They took the tree and the stockings. Nothing left but coal." What was she referring to? What the Alliance did to her mind in that school? Made the Alliance sound like the Grinch.

Mal: "You know, I hear tell they used to keelhaul traitors back in the day. I don't have a keel to haul you on, so..."

River: "Is it time to go to sleep again?"
Simon: "No, mei-mei. It's time to wake up."

Three out of four stars,

Billie
---
Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

6 comments:

Mark said...

"I didn't think for a moment that Mal would kill Jayne." But that's exactly why this is perhaps my favorite scene in the entire series. As the scene progressed, I didn't see a way for Mal *not* to kill Jayne, and still keep true to the character. As you mentioned, Jayne's response added depth to his character, and was probably the only response that would cause Mal to reconsider.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure the "They took Christmas away" line was in reference to the Fed cutting Jayne out of the reward money.

ChrisB said...

This episode really changed the game in a lot of ways. I loved seeing Simon come up with the plan and then train the rest of them on how to execute it. The rehearsal scene was hilarious, but I was pleased to Simon as the one in control.

I was very surprised that Mal left Jayne with Simon and River. I, in fact, do think it was a test that Jayne failed spectacularly. Mal got the truth; Simon did not. Simon is one of those people who will always err on the side of trusting or liking someone -- always giving the benefit of the doubt.

Mal does not -- quite the opposite. I'm with Mark in that I thought Jayne was dead until the very last second. Jayne has those wonderful flashes of humanity that make his character so interesting. I think his most recent saved his life.

So, now Jayne has one more chance with Mal and a new respect from Simon. How long will he be able to go until he blows it?

Finally, I am very keen to see what kind of 'cure' Simon has and how it will affect River. I really like her the way she is and I love her telepathic abilities. This is one part of the game I hope doesn't change too much.

Alan Ashwood said...

So - it IS science fiction!

No sign of horse here, just gleaming cities, space craft everywhere, and wealth. This is the Core.

Super episode, which brought us back to Jayne's corrupt character with a bang. Was he really going to sell the Tams to the Alliance?

Yup - he was.

Not for the sqweamish - or children, the Blue Hand men demonstrated how ready they were to kill anyone who had a suspicion aout River; even Alliance men. Graphic scene of bleeding eyes tell us this is not for kids.

Nice touch that Simon (because of Rivers abilities) save a patients life. All while they're trying to rob from the hospital.

We learned that Alliance firearms are useless for blowing the locks off doors.

The scene in the airlock is brilliant, and, like others, I thought this was the end of Jayne. But Mal's cleverer than that. He now has a hold over Jayne.

At this point, we think that we, and Mal, are the only ones who know about Jaynes betrayal.

Full of excellent plays on words throughout, and I loved the stolen, rebuilt ambulance. They should have kept it.

Josie Kafka said...

Did River cut Jayne with the knife because she knew he was going to betray them? Did River's attack push Jayne into betraying them? This felt circular, didn't it?


I think she cut him because he was wearing a Blue Sun shirt.

Marie said...

@Josie: Yeah, the Blue Suns corporation are supposedly the ones behind the Academy, hence why reacted negatively to it (like with her flipout about the cans in "Shindig").